Angus Poultry Producer Decides Solar Power Offers Ideal Solution

Angus farmer Mark Ogg chose solar photovoltaic (PV) panels over other renewable alternatives for his poultry unit, with a 310 sq metre installation.

Angus poultry farmer Mark Ogg“In solar PV, I believe we’ve found a system that is ideally suited to our type of business in that it matches our energy requirements by producing most energy in the hot summer months when we’re using ventilation,” said Mr Ogg, who produces about 1.5 million chickens a year alongside his arable and pig enterprise.

Having previously looked at wind, hydropower and anaerobic digestion (AD) as energy solutions for his farming business, Mr Ogg is now expecting a seven-year payback period on his solar investment.

According to Tom Morley, managing director of Greenpower Technology, the firm which supplied Mr Ogg’s new system, using solar energy remains what he describes as “one of the most cost-effective methods for farmers to produce their own electricity, in spite of the last reduction of FIT rates.

Mr Morley also commented on what he termed the “popular misconception” that the UK has insufficient UV levels to support solar systems, claiming it was ideal for farming businesses which faced their highest energy demand during the summer, when they needed power to run ventilation systems.

“Pig, poultry and potato producers are all in that category and having a system that so closely mirrors the peaks and troughs in energy usage is a highly efficient and cost effective way of using solar PV power,” he said.

This graph demonstrates the energy pattern achieved by a 44.41 kWp solar array system, similar to that used by Angus producer, Mark Ogg

As for a straight comparison between using solar for farm power in Angus as opposed to the often sunnier climes of  Hampshire, Mr Morley claimed that the difference in estimated output “wasn’t so big”.

The company expects a 44 kWp system in Angus to generate 36,462 kWh per annum, as opposed to an estimated 38,918 kWh from a 44 kWp system based in Hampshire. This is a difference of just over 6%, so it’s not really a big difference.

Poultry farmers have been warned that gases created from chicken droppings can damage certain solar PV systems. They therefore need to ensure that they choose specialist equipment that has been designed to suit their particular environment.